The Delta Grassroots Caucus (DGC) is a broad coalition of grassroots leaders in the eight-state Delta region. DGC is also a founding partner of the Economic Equality Caucus,
which advocates for economic equality across the USA.

Delta Caucus Membership Drive and Expansion

Posted on October 14, 2010 at 02:55 PM

The Delta Caucus is now beginning a membership drive to increase the number of partners all across the Delta. With such a huge region of 252 counties and parishes in eight Delta states, plus our network in the Washington, DC area, there is an enormous potential for expanding our membership. There is a modest request for annual membership dues.

We work on a wide range of community and economic development issues for the region, and certainly support for the Delta Regional Authority is one among many issues we work on. I would like to again say that Federal Cochairman Chris Masingill and Alternate Federal Cochairman Mike Marshall are providing excellent new leadership for the DRA and we are very encouraged by that. Chairman Masingill did a great job as the keynote speaker at our opening session in Washington, DC this fall, and Alternate Chairman Marshall did a great job of leading a regional economic development panel and introducing Sen. Claire McCaskill and Rep. Jo Ann Emerson from Missouri.

We would like to emphasize that people can take part in the Delta Caucus without having to go to one of the major conferences on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, at the Clinton Presidential Library in Arkansas, or other group meetings. Not everybody has the budget to do that, although we greatly appreciate the many people who are able to do so. On the other hand, if people just become members and agree to be placed on the list to receive group emails, and get involved based on that information on issues like supporting the DRA, job creation, health care improvements, opposition to FEMA’s ill-advised plan to redraw the flood plain maps and unjustifiably escalate flood insurance costs, transportation improvements based on the Delta Development Highway Plan and other infrastructure issues, broadband expansion, rural development and the many other issues we are involved in, support for those initiatives make an important contribution to the region’s development.

For example, if a group message indicates that the DRA has done some excellent work over its 10-year history, but is still seriously under-funded, if our partners all across the region contact their Members of Congress and/or the national executive branch officials to convey that reality by phone call, email, or other communications, that is an important and constructive activity. The group messages cover a wide range of activities so this is just one example.

If you have ideas for potential new members, please contact them and forward this email. Key partners include mayors, county executives and other local elected officials, state legislators, state government economic development officials, nonprofit organizations, small business leaders, corporations, foundations, universities and colleges, public school educators, farmers, and experts in key regional issues like renewable energy, broadband, transportation, rural development, health care (including hunger and nutrition), tourism related to the Delta’s cultural, historical and natural resources heritage.

FOR THE ANNUAL DUES AMOUNTS, We suggest the following requested amounts:

$25–for the smallest contributors or those with very limited budgets

$50–small businesses, small-to medium sized nonprofit organizations, chambers of commerce, smaller municipal or county governments

$100–banks, larger nonprofit foundations, larger chambers of commerce, municipal or county governments, universities and colleges

$150–the largest corporations and foundations

It is absolutely crucial for everyone to remember that even a modest contribution is helpful provided that all of our partners contribute at least something.

Please make out the check to “Delta Grassroots Caucus,” with a note “Dues,” and mail to:

Delta Grassroots Caucus

(Attention: Lee Powell)

5030 Purslane Place

Waldorf, MD 20601

The Delta Grassroots Caucus is a 501(c)(4) and has no restrictions on our lobbying activities. For those partners who are 501(c)3 organizations, they may need to just provide information and advocate without actually doing direct lobbying, which is urging a Member of Congress or the national administration to support or oppose a specific piece of legislation. DRA officials and other executive branch officials cannot lobby for their own budget increases, as you know. The administration provides a budget proposal each year and executive branch officials cannot of course publicly argue against whatever figure is in the administration’s budget proposal.

Many 501c3 organizations are able to do up to approximately 20% of their activities as lobbying, and the Delta Caucus actually does a lot of strictly informational work, so we are not that different from a 501c3.

We would encourage Congress and the Obama administration to do much more for job creation/retention and the economic recovery of our region, which unfortunately lags behind the rest of the country. It will be a major plus for not just the regional but the national economy if we can get a vast region of almost 10 million people to be much more prosperous.

We frequently have people who tell us that they are supportive of our regional economic development efforts, but cannot afford the time and money to go to one of the major events. That is understandable in many cases, so if you would ask to be placed on the group email list and contribute annual membership dues at even a modest amount, it adds up in a hurry and that will give you a way to participate if you can’t afford the time and travel to go to one of the larger meetings.

With 252 counties in eight states, if every county would provide at least one or more partners and send in annual dues of $25, $50 or $100, it will add up to a quite substantial amount. We have not previously asked for annual membership dues as a requirement but now we have decided to do that. For those who made sponsorship contributions or sent a group to the Washington, DC conference, this will be optional.

We go back to 2003 in our origins of continuous grassroots regional activity and in our nation’s capital, with roots going back in many cases to the Clinton administration’s Delta Regional Initiative, so this is the longest any organization of our kind has lasted in the Delta’s history. Expansion of the membership and increasing the budget are essential to making sure the organization is permanent. We have seen many other Delta organizations that did good work for a few years and then faded away, and we are not going to let that happen to this group.

WE WANT TO EXPAND INTO PREVIOUSLY INACTIVE AREAS–What we plan to do is of course keep up the areas where we are already strong, but then for every one of the counties that has until now been much less involved, contact by phone and email the county judge or whatever the top elected county official is, the mayor of the largest town or two, get more state legislators involved, the chamber of commerce, local banks, business leaders, nonprofit organizations, universities and colleges. With that pool to draw from in every county, having at least one or two partners is well within our reach. Some counties have 30 or 40 members.

This will take a substantial amount of time, but we will just work each county. I may get help from a contingent fundraiser, or may have to do it mostly myself with a little help from existing partners.

SPONSORSHIPS ARE CRUCIAL AS WELL–We need to increase the number of foundations and corporations that contribute, so any suggestions you have along those lines are welcome. A lead sponsorship is in the range of $2,500 to $5,000; major cosponsors are $1,000 to $1,500 for the entire year or $500 for one of the major conference’s costs; and regular sponsorships are $200 to $300. Sponsors are thanked on the big placards on display at the large events, on the website at, in group emails and in other public expressions of appreciation.

On a personal note, let me thank the many people who expressed concern for my recent bout with blood clots in my lungs. It will take a while to get back to normal but I seem to be progressing, slowly but surely. It was totally crazy and unexpected.

The Delta Grassroots Caucus has never been as strong as it is today. Increasing the number of partners across the region is our top priority now. Thanks a million for all your support! Lee Powell, executive director, MDGC (202) 360-6347